I am a born and raised Jersey girl. I was born in Belleville and I currently reside in Bloomfield, just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 151. New Jersey is a small state with a larger than life personality. Our state is the home to many famous musicians (Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi just to name a few). You can find a good 24 hour diner in every neighborhood. We still have gas stations where attendants pump our gas for us. Don’t even get me started on the taylor ham and cheese sandwiches! I can talk for hours about how much I love New Jersey, but the greatest part about living here is our beautiful Jersey shore. Down the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May, you will find roughly 130 miles worth of gorgeous beaches and fun for the family.
For as long as I can remember, my family has spent summer vacation at the shore. Growing up, my family had a small condo in Wildwood Crest and we would spend most of the summer season there. Even now at 23 years old, I would take a vacation to the Wildwoods (the name refers to Diamond Beach, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood, & North Wildwood) over a trip anywhere else. It is my favorite shore point and has become somewhat of a second home to me.
This past weekend was the first of 3 trips I have planned there for this summer. For those of you not familiar with the island I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of the Jersey shore with you! (Believe me, what you may have seen on MTV’s Jersey Shore TV show is NOT representative of this beautiful place I call my home.)
The Wildwoods has a long-time attachment to the Doo Wop era which can be seen throughout every community. The resort area was built in the 1950s and is reflected in the architecture of the motels, restaurants, and landmarks. Funky colors, brightly lit neon signs, edgy designs, and retro decor is everywhere. Although most of the old motels and businesses have been since closed or turned into new developments, some of the original buildings still stand and function today. The Jolly Roger motel was built in 1960. The hotel has undergone renovations and new ownership, but still stays true to the Doo Wop roots. Just a block from the beach and a short drive from the boardwalk, this motel is the top choice of mine and my family. We love staying here and plan to do so for many years to come! (To learn more about the rich history and Doo Wop culture of the Wildwoods, be sure to check out the Doo Wop Experience Museum.)
No vacation at the shore would be complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Maybe I’m biased, but I personally consider the Wildwoods boardwalk to be the best at the shore. The boardwalk is 38 blocks full of shops, rides, games, arcades, places to eat, and fun for people of all ages. Did I mention there’s a water park too? It’s amazing! You cannot possibly tackle it all in just a day. Each pier has its own identity and it makes the boardwalk so unique. The lights on the ferris wheel can be seen from miles away at night. There’s a free fireworks display every weekend too! Hop on the Tram Car and take a ride down the boards. Grab an ice cream cone from Kohr Bros. and a bucket of fries from Curley’s! Gateway 26 Arcade has games to keep the kids busy for hours and plenty of prizes to choose from too! Don’t forget to stop at the Boardwalk Mall to pick up souvenirs for friends and loved ones at home!
After a great weekend away, it was time to head back home to Bloomfield on Sunday evening. I’m so glad that the storm decided to wait until we got halfway home to begin! With temps in the 70s all weekend, it made for a pleasant trip away from home for a few days. After a 3 hour drive, I was back at home and ready to start the work week and already preparing for our next vacation!
I could literally write a book about all the amazing things that can be found in The Wildwoods. I have 23 years worth of memories. Every summer there is something new. New attractions, restaurants, motels, condos, shops, and so much more. I look forward to visiting again in July with my family. I will be sure to do a follow-up blog to this one as well. The jersey shore is definitely worth visiting if you have the opportunity to do so. A trip to any shore point will be worth it! My family has formed its own traditions in the Wildwoods and I hope your family can do the same!
For more information about the island, be sure to visit the Wildwoods NJ website. You can also request a free vacation planning guide! I’d love to hear all about your experiences!
Fun fact: In 1963, singer Bobby Rydell released the hit “Wildwood Days” and it has become to anthem of the island! Take a listen!
Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer season!
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Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos credited by Joanna Maruca belong to myself. All other images and photos used were acquired through a search of google images. Those photos belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.